Agency


title: Agency
subtitle: Cyberfeminism

About the Concept

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Agency is the capacity to act in a given context, it is a fundamental and
ambiguous concept in feminism thought, it has been very much debated from its
acception as an individual concept or as a collective one.

Sources

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  • [Meeting the Universe Halfway][1]: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of
    Matter and Meaning
    , Durham: Duke University Press. (Karen Barad, 2007)
  • [Interview with Karen Barad][2] (2011)

[1]: /library/Karen BARAD - Meeting the Universe Halfway (2007).pdf
[2]: /library/Karen BARAD - Interview (Corfou 2011).pdf

Common Knowledge and Political Love

an individual’s (or group’s) ability to make effective choices and to
transform those choices into desired outcomes

The difficulty to qualify agency for feminists is that this essential notion
happens in a patriarchal environment that feminists want to detach from;
therefore it becomes difficult to define agency by the same time bringing in
view and not refering to the patriarchal rules of of society.

Agency is intertwined with different realities, contexts, and personas
characterising from there on the capacity to act upon something differentiating
itself from Power and often poses itself in a relation of resistance to it.
Karen Barad stresses the non-human aspect of agency; insisting that agency is
understood as ‘an enactment.’ “Agential intra-actions are causal enactments.”
(2007, p. 176)

Everyone accesses different type of agencies, while one’s capacity to understand
its own agency is always in transformation, agencies work well when combined in
a perspective of solidarity.
Distributed and shared technologies value differential sets of agency and set
grounds for a capacity to characterise different set of agency in different
communities.

“Agency is ‘doing’ or ‘being’ in its intra-activity. It is the enactment of
iterative changes to particular practices – interative reconfigurings of
topological manifolds of spacetimematter relations ­- through the dynamics of
intra-activity.” (p. 178). Like Braidotti, Barad’s position also argues that in
and through the entanglements of matter, agency also refers us to the
“possibilities for worldly re-configurings” (Barad, 2012, p. 55).

Agency being both a political and a relational concept it can be activated in
political terms if all its constituent are in a moving relational scheme of
discreet materials.

Ingold argues: “things are active not because they are imbued with agency but
because of ways in which they are caught up in these currents of the
lifeworld. The properties of materials, then, are not fixed attributes of matter
but are processual and relational. To describe these properties means telling
their stories.” (Ingold, 2007, p. 1)

Agential Memory, uses narrative procedures to help us to understand the
complexity of our constructed memory and situate back into them a form of
agential realism.relational nature of the matter, or things under discussion.

Tree of Significance

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SYNONYM
: power, instrumentality, entanglement, matter, actant

ANTONYM
: impotence, oppression, causality

HYPERNYM
: ethics, politics, new materialism, assemblage, information

HYPONYM
: matter, object, thing, body, infrastructure, informatics

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